Ridley Road

Ridley Road

3.62 (447 ratings by Goodreads)
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For fans of Maggie O'Farrell and Sadie Jones, amid the rise of fascism in sixties London, one woman searches for her lost love ...Summer, 1962. Twenty-year-old Vivien Epstein, a Jewish hairdresser from Manchester, arrives in London following the death of her father. Alone in the world, she is looking for Jack Fox, a man she had a brief but intense love affair with some months before. But the only address she has for him leads to a dead end. Determined to make a new life for herself, Vivien convinces Barb, the owner of Oscar's hair salon in Soho, to give her a job. There, she is swept into the colourful world of the sixties - the music and the fashions, the coffee bars and clubs. But still, Vivien cannot forget Jack. As she continues to look for him, her search leads her into the fight against resurgent fascism in East London, where members of the Jewish community are taking to the streets, in and around Ridley Road. Then one day Vivien finally spots Jack, but her joy is short-lived when she discovers his secret ...
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 141 x 222 x 30mm | 454g
  • Weidenfeld & Nicolson
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0297608282
  • 9780297608288
  • 1,367,582

Review quote

Bloom has uncovered an episode in London's history that deserves to be better known, and her research has thrown up some appalling events...the subject matter alone makes for a thought-provoking read -- Shirley Whiteside THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY A vivid, cinematic and exciting debut RED magazine 'Book of the Month' Well-researched, convincingly evocative of an exciting era and covers events of which most people will have little awareness. It's also a timely warning against the dangers of the insidious rhetoric against people of a different race or nationality, which is rearing its ugly head again -- John Harding DAILY MAIL A stirring story of the darker side of the 60s -- Deidre O'Brien SUNDAY MIRROR The 62 Group were a real organisation, as were the two fascist groups mentioned in the novel. It's a little-known aspect of Britain's history and it brings a great deal of drama to Bloom's story, as well as social interest. These are unpleasant and shocking politics to explore, but they are handled well. At the lighter end of the social history scale, Ridley Road also conjures a great picture of Soho's early-Sixties jazz-and-caffeine buzz EMERALD STREET The tumultuous 1960s is the setting for Jo Bloom's insightful novel Ridley Road - an exploration into an important, interesting and crucial narrative in British history, the Jewish community and fascism that hasn't yet received due attention in fiction... Readers too are likely to have their eyes opened by this fascinating novel, which although fictitious, obviously takes inspiration from real contexts and situations. While the love story draws readers into the novel, it is the growing tension and drama of the political and social contexts that make this a really gripping read WE LOVE THIS BOOK This is a superb debut from Jo Bloom. Brilliantly researched, informative, shocking and extremely moving I can't recommend this novel enough BookaholicConfessions.wordpress.com The contrast between the innocence of Vivien and the hatred and evil of the fascists, combined with the strength of feeling and bravery of those who fought against it is startling and makes for compelling, and enlightening reading. Ridley Road contains an important story, very well told by an excellent author who writes so well. Her characters are rounded and well developed, the sense of place and era are very real and the plot is full of surprising and shocking twists and turns. A great novel, I enjoyed this one very much Randomthingsthroughmyletterbox.blogspot.co.uk An exploration of a fascinating slice of British history all wrapped up in a thriller and a love story. Bloom handles the tensions within her story well but what lifts her book above the crowd is its context. Her novel grew out of a lift given to an elderly man she'd met at a funeral she'd attended. Listening to her father and Monty talking about their memories of the 62 Group, she became fascinated by what they were saying, researching it for several years before writing Ridley Road. It's a tribute to Bloom's lightness of touch that her story is so absorbing -- Susan Osborne alifeinbooks.co.uk Bloom captures the vibrant '60s London scene brilliantly: the music, the clubs and the fashions... Bloom blends the facts with the fiction to create a fast-paced story which is part-romance and part-thriller THE JEWISH CHRONICLE Ridley Road is a really interesting and thought-provoking read. It is a work of fiction but it is inspired by true events - fascists really did try to make a comeback less than 20 years after the end of the Second World War. If you like books set in the sixties, this is definitely worth a look; there are a lot of novels set in London in this period, but Ridley Road felt like a story I hadn't come across before. I'll be looking out to see what Jo Bloom writes about next. NOVELICIOUS A tale of love and morality set in the dark side of the Swinging Sixties -- Lilly Cox THE LADY The novel presents a vivid portrait of London in 1962 ... this heartening picture of ordinary, bustling life acts as a foil to the dark seam of the National Social Movement's fascist activity, whose horrors are increasingly exposed throughout the novel ... a compelling, worthwhile read, as well as a fitting homage to the bravery of the 62 Group -- Natasha Blumenthal JEWISH QUARTERLY The many twist and turns made for a real page-turner and I found the book difficult to put down. NEWBOOKS MAGAZINE
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About Jo Bloom

Jo Bloom has worked as a freelancer in the communications field for the past fifteen years with a focus on arts publicity and e-learning. She also contributed to the book review section of Time Out, London for a few years. Prior to this she lived and worked in Prague and New York. She was inspired to write Ridley Road when she met a Jewish anti-fascist who'd lived in the East End all his life and participated in numerous street battles with the fascists alongside both the 43 Group and the 62 Group. She lives in Brighton with her husband and young son. Follow her on Twitter @missiejobloom or visit her website www.jobloom.com
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Rating details

447 ratings
3.62 out of 5 stars
5 22% (98)
4 35% (158)
3 29% (130)
2 10% (46)
1 3% (15)
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